Get Organized Challenge Week 4: “That Drawer”


We all have “that drawer.”  Oftentimes referred to as the “junk drawer,” but for some it might be their nightstand drawer or kitchen appliance drawer or drawer in the bathroom.  No matter the location in your house, what drawer would embarrass you if your mother-in-law came over and opened it?  Yup, that’s the one!


This week’s challenge:  Organize “that drawer”


If you completed Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 then you’ve probably realized that the majority of this “Get Organized Challenge” is about getting rid of things you don’t need.  If you have multiple of the same item that you don’t need, then we’re going to focus on getting rid of the duplicates vs. organizing all the items you currently have to make them fit into a drawer when we know you don’t use 75% of the things in there.  If you have 3 flashlights and 55 pens and 2 sewing kits and 4 pair of scissors and 7 different return address stickers you got from charities you donated to — well, we’re going to focus this week on getting down to 1 of each item.  You can do it!  It will be freeing.  Trust me.


Things you’ll need:  1 trash bag and your phone or whatever device that will play your favorite music

Time needed:  20 minutes

Instruction:  Follow these 10 simple steps!


Step 1:  Turn on your favorite music and set a timer for 20 minutes

Step 2:  Take everything out of “that drawer” and set it in a pile on the counter or floor

Step 3:  Wipe down the inside of the drawer

Step 4:  Test every pen that came out of that drawer and throw out the ones that don’t work or the ones that are a weird color like orange or light green ink.  Toss out anything that is a duplicate (consider a separate bag for donations if things in “that drawer” are actually donation-worthy).  Holding 3 scissors in your hand?  Keep one, donate the other two.  Holding a stack of personalized return address labels that were sent to you for free from miscellaneous charities but you feel you can’t toss them because they’re customized to you and you “may need them someday for letters you might sent.”  Nope, toss ’em.  Save maybe 1 set of your favorites.  All the receipts and papers with to do lists and measurements from rooms you were going to redecorate a couple years ago and the address you wrote down of that one place you were going that one time?  Yup, bye bye.  The majority of the items you’re staring at right now can go into the trash bag.  Are you holding 12 rubber bands?  Toss ’em.  No, there won’t be a time you’ll need those rubber bands.  If you didn’t even know it was in there, say adios.  Do not keep the broken pedometer that you got free from your family physician or that one wellness contest at work in 2012.  No, you’re not going to replace the battery, you’re just not.

Step 5:  Optional/bonus step:  Consider a drawer organizer from The Container Store.  If you are looking at the organizers and feel like they’re not big enough — then you have too much stuff (repeat steps 1-4), I repeat, you have too much stuff.  If you do not want to purchase organizers, look around your house for small boxes.  I even used an empty box that checks came in for a container — I flipped them upside down and used the bottom for photos and the lid for small medication bottles.  You don’t have to spend too much money on this challenge on the perfect organizer, just find something you already own to keep the items organized and separated from one another and easy to see.  Here’s a photo of the most recent organizer I purchased for my night stand.  I love it because you can rearrange the formation of the boxes in a way that makes the most sense for you.

Step 6:  Place your items in your new organizers or the boxes you’ve found around your house.

Step 7:  Toss trash bag into trash can.

Step 8.  Keep reopening the newly organized drawer and complimenting yourself on a job well done.

Step 9:  Hang onto the papers that you pulled out of there that you feel you can’t get rid of but don’t want to put back into the drawer (spoiler alert:  we’ll address those in next week’s challenge).

Step 10:  Feel happy!

You’re another week closer to a less cluttered life.  Feels good, huh?